Videocameras, Too, Can Lie — or at Least Create Prejudice discusses a fascinating psychological phenomenon, illusory causation:
Almost three decades of research in both lab and real-world settings shows that when people witness an interaction, they tend to attribute causality to events or individuals that are more noticeable. When people see two individuals chatting, for instance, and if they have a better angle on Mr. A than Mr. B, they conclude that Mr. A shaped the tone and direction of the conversation and caused Mr. B to respond as he did.
“They judged videotaped confessions recorded with the camera focused on the suspect as more voluntary than videos focused equally on the suspect and interrogator, even when the content was identical.”
“In one instance, the simple change from an equal-focus confession to a suspect-focus confession doubled the ‘conviction’ rate,” says Prof. Lassiter.